USDA approves latest round of advanced biofuel payments

By Kris Bevill | September 29, 2011

The USDA approved its latest round of payments to producers of advanced biofuels on Sept. 27, giving the green light for more than $76 million to be distributed to more than 160 producers in 41 states. The quarterly payments are authorized under the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill as a method of supporting and expanding the production of renewable fuels from feedstocks other than corn kernel starch.

Biodiesel producers made up the majority of the approved list for this quarter, but multiple pellet and anaerobic digester projects were also on the list. Fifteen ethanol producers also received payments for ethanol produced from feedstock other than corn. In Kansas, where milo is a readily available substitute for corn, eight ethanol facilities will receive more than $8 million for their advanced biofuel production. Kansas Ethanol LLC will receive the largest payment of any producer in Kansas—about $2.3 million. A handful of producers in other states will also receive payments for their non-corn-based ethanol. In Texas, Levelland/Hockley County Ethanol LLC was approved to receive $1.8 million for advanced ethanol it has produced. The 40 MMgy milo/corn facility was idled earlier this year, however, and it is not clear when the plant could become operational again. White Energy Inc., which operates a 50 MMgy plant in Russell, Kan., a 110 MMgy plant in Plainview, Texas, and a 115 MMgy plant in Hereford, Texas, was approved for the largest payment of any ethanol producer and will receive nearly $4 million this quarter from the USDA.

The program’s payment amounts are based on the amount of biofuel produced at each qualifying facility. Under the program’s guidelines, additional payments may be provided to facilities that have increased their output over the previous year. In order to qualify for the program, a facility must have produced an eligible biofuel in the fiscal year before the payment is sought and cannot have been idle for more than 20 days in that year. To view a complete list of the program’s recipients, click here